On the day of cyclone we did what we had to do to get ready for it and some of the things we did to prepare was based on the information given to us by our town officer. We were also following the cyclone updates on the radio so we were pretty much five steps ahead of what we were supposed to do in terms of preparation.
Later in the day we left our home in Houma ‘Eua and we went to our church to stay there overnight just to ensure we would be safe.
When we returned the next morning we just stood there and looked at the damage the cyclone had made to our home. About 80% of our home was ruined by the cyclone.
WE WERE JUST HAPPY TO BE BACK AT HOME EVEN IF IT MEANT SLEEPING AMONGST THE RUINS
I was determined not to return to our church to stay there because I didn’t want us to leave our home again. So I told my son that the quicker we move to clean up the better the chance we had to return home. We both snapped out of our mini-depression and we got to cleaning up straight away.
We had managed to fix enough of the damages to have just the right amount of space to sleep in our house that night. Despite the loss and the devastation of our home and some of our belongings we were just happy to be back at home, even if it meant sleeping amongst the ruins.
My son is still in high school. Every morning I take him to school then from there I go straight to the bush to our plantation.
Although my husband has passed away, that doesn’t mean I cannot do anything with our plantation. Ever since he passed away, I have continued going to the bush and when my son is not at school we go to the bush together. We have a plantation of yams and taro. We save some for our own consumption and cultural obligations and then we sell the rest to help us with our financial needs.
I also feed and look after piglets for sale. When my son and I need additional funds, we also sell some of our bigger piglets. Every Saturday we go to the bush and collect coconuts to return with it to our home to feed our pigs.
I also do some other work on the side. I make leis (necklaces) and send to the Hawaiian market for sale. They make orders and pay me for my leis by metre. This is our other financial support. I do this in the evenings and on the days I am not able to go to the plantation.